Appointments for first doses of COVID-19 vaccines spiked in Quebec after the province announced that people would need a vaccine passport to enter government-run weed and liquor stores.
On Friday, Quebec’s Health Minister Christian Dubé tweeted that first dose appointments soared from 1,500 a day to more than 6,000 on Thursday, the day he announced the new restrictions.
As of Jan. 18, Quebecers wanting to buy booze from the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) stores or weed from Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) stores will be required to show proof of vaccination.
“The message I’m sending to non-vaccinated people, if you don’t get vaccinated, stay home,” Dube said at a press conference Thursday.
He said the policy’s objective is to limit the contacts among unvaccinated people.
“More than 50 percent of the people that are in intensive care right now are unvaccinated people,” Dubé said. “We want to protect them from themselves.”
Dubé said the restrictions at the liquor and weed stores are “only a start” and that Quebecers can expect similar restrictions at other non-essential businesses, including shopping malls.
In Quebec, you can buy beer and wine at grocery and convenience stores, but weed is only for sale at government-run shops.
The province currently has a 10 p.m. curfew in place and will soon require third doses of the vaccine to have a valid vaccine passport.
The province announced 44 more deaths due to COVID-19 on Saturday—a daily death toll nearly the highest in a year, according to the Toronto Star; hospitalizations due to the virus were up 11 percent, with 15,928 new cases.
In a news conference last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also called out unvaccinated Canadians, blaming them for taking up hospital resources and delaying to cancer treatments and surgeries.
"When people see that we are in lockdowns or serious public health restrictions right now because of the risk posed to all of us by unvaccinated people, people get angry,” Trudeau said. Meanwhile, federal Health Minister Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said Friday provinces will likely start discussing mandatory vaccination policies in the coming months.
A number of other Canadian provinces have imposed vaccine requirements for visiting non-essential businesses like restaurants and movie theatres, with Saskatchewan also requiring proof of vaccination for weed and liquor stores.
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